Coral Gables Museum Launches Artisan Food Fest

For socially conscious foodies, seeking out homegrown deliciousness just got easier. The Coral Gables Museum's Artisan Food Fest on August 11 will showcase a tasty assortment of handcrafted goodies, all authentically artisan (unlike some products we might mention).

This free event will feature more than a dozen purveyors of gourmet edibles, all boasting small batch products made with local ingredients. Attendees can nosh their way through samples of jams and marmalades, pickles, vegan cookies, granola, crackers and all kinds of other eats.

The fest will coincide with the museum's monthly family day, so while kids get to playing -- adults can get to eating. (And possibly winning, as the museum will also be raffling off a membership.)

Chris Rupp, the museum's Acting Director, said the festival was really the brainchild of a vendor who participated in the museum's farmer's market last spring. Tom Wilfong, co-founder of Copperpot's Jam, approached her and suggested the idea. Rupp jumped right on it.

Together, they chose vendors and worked out the details. But what criteria was used to define "artisan"?

"Their creations are unique, they're local and they utilize for the most part local products grown here in South Florida. And they had to be delicious," Rupp said.

"We really hand-picked them; we sought them out," she added.

In addition to Copperpot's, the vendors include Freakin' Flamingo, Cao Chocolates, The Cheesecake Gallery, Novae Gourmet, The Spiced Nut Factory, Proper Sausages, The Crackerman, Laurie's Pantry Granola, Mr. Green Dean, Om Nom Nom Cookies, Herbal Passion Alchemy, Bottega la Dolce Vita, Pasta Amore, The Empanada Lady and Pickle Delicious.

Copperpot's, whose motto is "slow down, jam on!", was launched last year by Wilfong and co-founder Vanessa Safie. The buzz is building about their unique assortment of spreads - Red Onion Marmalade, Apple Butter and Strawberry Basil Jam, to name a few.

With the market for artisan foods growing, the duo said they wanted to see an event that highlighted these types of companies and their products.

"Miami has a lot of events focused on niche markets, but nothing for the artisan food scene that's really starting to emerge in South Florida. You have craft fairs, farmer's markets and food truck round-ups, but nowhere to appreciate folks like Proper Sausages, Novae Gourmet or Cao Chocolates, " Safie said.

And what do they consider "artisan"? (After all -- there are a lot of bogus "artisan" foods on the market out there.)

"(An) Artisan by definition is a person or company that makes a high quality and distinctive product in small quantities, usually by hand and using traditional methods," Wilfong explained.

"We are lucky enough to be able to say that about everyone who is participating, they are all extensions of this definition; they are, food artisans."

The Artisan Food Fest runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 11 at 285 Aragon Avenue in Coral Gables and admission is free.

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